Friday, March 9, 2018

Eight A Day

It seems like I haven't been a' bloggin' forever.  And I haven't written anything in months.  We've been doing so many amazing new projects, friends (if you're in Missouri, you should TOTALLY COME to my presentation at Spring Conference)! It's just that I teach eight classes a day.  Eight different grade levels (that's K-6 + adaptive, three different sections of adaptive). About 500 students, every three days. It's a whirlwind, and the art show was Tuesday night (first year doing Artome') and I'm just trying so hard to focus on the important things.  
It's like this poster, but only more school-related:

Image result for pick any two today's modern woman

So I haven't forgotten you, blog readers, I'm just working.  Lots.
But I promise to make a better effort, and get back to blogging :-)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Mini Sketchbooks Just For Fun

Before Christmas I used leftover paper from our calendar project to make mini sketchbooks for all of my second graders (around 80 or so).

When I cut the calendars to [roughly] 6 x 6, the remaining copy paper is in HUGE stacks.  This year I just used my long-arm stapler and made these quick little books for them to have something to draw in the last day before break, rather than start a new project.  It worked well UNTIL I got a wicked sinus infection and missed the Tuesday before break.  So my second graders that I had today got to draw in them (and take them home) after doing a warm colored painting today (that will be used as a background for some cool-colored buildings later).  They were thrilled:

They had so many ideas! "Can we write and draw?" "Can I make this my life story?"

After painting, they really only had 5-7 minutes (which stretched to 10-12 when I totally lost track of time), but it was time well spent!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Is It Procrastination? Or Perfectionism?

Teachers in my district reported back today for meetings and work time.  I spent my time changing out hallway displays (which needed to happen) and avoiding doing the things I need to do for our artist of the month program (choosing/hanging/writing the letters--all still needs to happen before I can leave today).  I took down first grade landscapes and put up first grade owls:

We did our owls similarly to previous years, except our backgrounds were warm-colored-crayon leaf rubbings with black paint over.

I had decided to do a cute little Leader In Me connection on this board because it's the one that every child who rides a bus sees (all 700-800 of them).  The spacing of the letters drove me NUTS, so switched some around, leaving a gap, so I had to go find another owl from another class to fill the void:

Much better! Now, what can I find to avoid doing the artist of the month stuff that needs to be done in the next 45 minutes??? Wait! That one on the far right needs to be adjusted. . . can someone else do artist of the month for me this month????

Monday, December 11, 2017

Where Have I Been All This Time?

I keep deciding to blog, what to blog . . . but I'm so busy.  I've had more to prepare for my classes lately, more knitting/crocheting to do for my yarn bombing, I'm trying to finish a quilt I started 16 years ago (because it seems so important to finish it right now, this second).
So what are my students up to?  Sixth grade finished some cityscapes and are working on a new project inspired by this artist, fifth grade is starting some printmaking  Andy Warhol inspired soup cans, fourth grade is working on Thomas Hart Benton style murals, third grade is working on radial symmetry,

second grade is busy making the calendars I tend to do every year, first grade just started these amazing chalk-and-paint insects, 

(we still have details to add) and kindergarten is trying to finish up some Wild Things.
I'm frantically trying to keep a healthy work/home balance (who does that well? Unicorns? Because everyone I know is always trying to do it better).
So I guess all this to say, I'm still around.  Still teaching, just not blogging as much as I probably should.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

About That Yarn Bombing. . .

A few weeks ago I wrote about being inspired to do a yarn bombing after seeing what happened at fall conference.  I kind of wonder what I was thinking, because I thought I'd be able to go home and get it all done.  Um, knitting enough to cover a tree takes a while???? And crochet may be faster if you know how to crochet (which I did not). I also didn't have that much actual yarn at home, so it's a work in progress:

The upper branch zig-zag piece was a donation from someone's relative.
A chain-smoking relative, so it never made it out of the box,
PERFECT for outdoor art.

Note the crochet circles--they all look like the cups of bras,
because I was in the learning-to-crochet-from-YouTube stage,
many mistakes are/were made.

Obviously, it's still a work in progress!

I've learned so much.  For example, there needs to be some cohesiveness in color or form or something to make it look intentional, and not like you're just some loon knitting a tree.  The loon label may still be up for debate (about me) with my neighbors.  Also, to keep momentum going, you must have something to knit or crochet with you at all times:

In my purse at all times for long lines and church.
(I tell myself I listen better while my hands are busy)
The plan (for now) is to add more crochet'd circles and another knitted scarf-like piece or two around the trunk.  It really does add some cheer to my street on gray days (and we've had a lot lately!). I'm hoping for lots of knitting time this winter [read: snow days].  And because I blogged about it to the entire internet, maybe I'll feel some pressure to get it all covered.  Either way, look for an update in a few weeks, months, years.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nightmare! Then, Not So Much

Have you seen that project that has students making ancient-Greek-style vases out of paper and then putting them on paper columns?  I don't remember where I saw it, but I thought it would be fun and easy for my students (HA!)
The first class to make the columns STRUGGLED, it was awful.  I needed octopus arms to help them all, and I, unfortunately, don't have octopus arms.
Here's what the first group's looked like after the first day:

Note the randomness and how most are unfolded/unglued.
Obviously, that wasn't working, so I made a how to video for the folding part:

It was easier with the remaining two groups, but still challenging.  Here's a comparison to the first students (these students had the benefit of the video):

I think everyone but one student got theirs folded and glued.
For the vase part, students designed their own (folded the paper, drew and cut them out).  They did their design with pencil, traced with ultra-fine Sharpie and used colored pencils:

I do like the contrast of the dark blue with tan better than the gray on light blue. But after all we went through to get them done, I don't know that this is an every year sort of project.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

An Update on Money and Glue

Fourth grade ancient coins, done and painted!

They're ah-mazing! The sound they make is so satisfying and old-coin-y.  That's the official term (I know because I just made it up). I wrote about our first steps to this project earlier this year.  After firing, we used metallic tempera block paint to paint them, and acrylic gloss medium (plain and platinum for extra sparkle) to seal them.

My fourth graders worked hard to get them painted and sealed in one forty minute class period.  We laid them out on my back table to dry, and they dried enough for them to take them home the same day (I have fourth grade in the morning, and I delivered them to their class at the end of the day).

And now a glue update.  Guys, upside down glue is AMAZING.  I'm never going back! Some unexpected bonuses: it's very easy to see when glues need to be filled, and it's relieved some of my heavy sighing about filling all glue bottles at once (because I can just quickly look and fill the 3 or 4 that need filling).  Students are really into checking to make sure glues are closed, taking better care of the nozzles and bottles.  I have almost no one telling me glues are empty when really they just need to be opened.  I have had to re-glue some magnets a few times, but not often.  Life changing, this upside down glue!
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